ISEF - Part 2!

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[Picture are coming soon]

Tuesday was an amazing day as we all were treated to a dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck at the aquarium and desert at the World of Coca Cola. The dinner was amongst whales and sharks in an elegant dining hall, but the best to come was to be found at the World of Coca Cola. After getting my picture taken with the polar bear, I headed for the tasting room where there was about 6 stations each with around 10-15 drinks Coca Cola makes from around the world. Needless to say, I had to try every single one. I did shots by quickly going across each soda fountain and 20 minutes later my stomach was more than full.

While that was a great end to the night, judging was tomorrow morning. It was definitely more laid back than I thought it would be. The judges were extremely interested and nice, asking fair and not mind-numbingly hard questions. Things became intense though in the third session when I had an unscheduled interview with two grand award judges for the last 20 minutes or so. They kept asking questions one after another and knew what they were talking about. In fact, one of them had worked with leeches, my model animal for study, and was meticulously analyzing my work. It became more of an academic discussion though, which proved enjoyable and their questions about my procedure provided me with many ideas on how to improve.

After judging was the student mixer. Food was served on trays and so everyone had to chases the waiters down to eat. It was hilarious because throughout the entire night you would see a big mob of people chasing after a waiter with such delicacies as scrumptious chicken wings or mini hamburgers. After a couple of hours of watching lame dancing in this brightly lit atrium, I and a few others headed to the Hard Rock where we didn't order much, inadvertently angering the waiter who obviously desired a large tip. After eating my apple cobbler, we headed to the Omni and sat around talking until we felt dreariness from the past few long nights overcome us. We concluded that the hotel wouldn't be pleased with a bunch of geeks passed out in their lounge so we called it a night and crashed in our rooms.

Right now I have to head to the exhibition hall as public viewing starts at 10 am. Today will be an interesting day.

ISEF - An amazing two days so far

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We're two days into the science fair and Atlanta is packed with aspiring young talent from end to end. Everywhere I walk in Atlanta, I can expect to see the signature orange finalist ribbon dangling across someone's neck. It's as if we've taken over the city in a matter of days. I'm not complaining though. Geeks everywhere. Science in the air. What more could I ask for?

Let me take you back through the past two days so that you can vicariously see ISEF up and close. Trust me if you have even the smallest inkling of nerdiness in your blood, this will be a treat you don't want to miss :p.

As we were driving in on the ridiculous 7 lane highway, Atlanta's skyline slowly became visible, popping out from amongst the trees. In addition, to the weather being good on Sunday, the rental company gave us a covertible and so my friend, chaperone, and I drove into Atlanta with the top down and the tunes blazing (<-- who are we kidding, we were'nt listing to music...I was reading).

When we finally made our way through the streets to the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), the wind had picked up and was blowing everything. Luckily, we survived. ISEF takes up the entire GWCC to my knowledge. Regardless, it is humungous. I'm not just talking about the exhibition hall, which rocks in its own right. I'm talking about all the rooms, including the e-lounge filled with internet enabled laptops and a plasma and the presentation room filled with awesomeness (aka a huge, huge projection screen).

Sunday night was the pin exchange in which I met many old friends and many new. My name badge strap now has pins all over it from all sorts of countries. For the record, it's funny how many Stanford pre-frosh are here. I met like 10 at the exchange, but only 2 MIT '12ers.

I spent Sunday evening and Monday morning setting up my project and after about 4 hours I was finally approved. My project check was funny and unnerving at the same time because the inspector kept analyzing the leeches in my pictures attempting to ensure that their weren't any ghastly views of the dissection process. Apparently, there are thousands of young students coming out on Thursday who would be disgusted by opened animals. Plus, there's the whole issue with animal rights.

The HUB in the exhibition hall is by far the coolest feature available to exhibitors as it has endless supplies of every single tool and type of material you would ever need.

Monday night was the opening ceremony, which had the exact same setup that I've seen in the online videos. I was overjoyed to finally experience it all in person. The swinging cameras definitely add to the whole glorified atmosphere of the event. It rocked. I have many videos of the Atlanta Drumline (featured in the movie Drumline) performing, the Intel CEO giving a lecture, weatherman Nick Walker from the Weather Channel hosting, the president of Society For the Science and the Public encouraging us, and Philipe Cousteau from "Oceans" motivating the crowd. The shout outs came afterward where reps from each country sprinted up onto stage with posters inducing shouts and clapping from their respective countries. The entire night was just amazing.

The host (weatherman) is on the left and Phillipe is on the right.
After the event, I got a picture of everyone leaving the hall. Anyone care to do a Fermi estimate of this?

Of course, any trip to a great city isn't complete without the obligatory skyline photos.

Today I hope to see the CNN tower and go the Science and Technology Panel with Nobel laureates. Then tonight is the dinner in the aquarium and dessert at the Coca Cola center. Tomorrow is judging!

End of the Year!

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Hey all!

I'm back yay. So here's the deal. I leave for ISEF in about 15 minutes and just wanted to say that I've been pretty hosed the past couple of weeks trying to finish end of the year projects and make up work for the week I'm missing in addition to readying up for ISEF. I just want to say May has been fun, after all it is the month of my birthday so therefore it IS the best month. About 600ish people came together for my bday on May 7 (really there was an awards banquet that happened to be on my bday, but I played it off as my bday celebration :-) ).

I've only got one more week of school once ISEF finishes (*tear tear) and then I'll finally graduate. Until then I must get through ISEF, finals, AP Physics C, and the American CS League's All Star competition. It sure is the best of the times and the worst of times.

I'm going to try to blog throughout ISEF, so keep coming and keep an eye out for more posts. Until next time, enjoy:

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Hello World! (ahh I love the reference to programming). My name is Omar. I'm a senior in high school and will be a freshman at MIT starting next Fall. My interests are science and math and I hope to eventually become a doctor. This is a blog about my journey. Please enjoy it along with me.

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